Country Specific Information
Choose the Right Insurance
Medical Plan Summary
Individual Medical Insurance
Family Medical Insurance
Group Medical Insurance
Teacher Medical Insurance
Travel Medical Insurance

"I have been impresssed by their professionalism, vison, and focus on delivering impartial advice, with high levels of customer service..."
- James Cooper
Did you Know?
As an insurance broker we are able to pick and choose the best insurance providers worldwide. Even better our insurance plans cost the exact same as if you were buying directly from the insurer.

Japan Health Insurance


Get Free Quote

Beyond the clichéd images of kimono-clad geisha and ancient temples on mist-shrouded hills, Japan offers contrasts from rich artistic heritage and natural wonders to modern culture, futuristic cities and trend-setting technology. The largest producer of automobiles and the third largest economy in the world, Japan sits in Eastern Asia, forming an island chain to the east of the Korean Peninsula, between the Sea of Japan and the North Pacific Ocean. Commonly referred to as ‘the land of the rising sun’ Japan has an archipelago of over 6,800 islands and a treasure chest of temples, shrines, vibrant cities, historical marvels and culinary attractions, complimented by the gracious hospitality of locals. While the country has a modern economy and a highly developed and stable democracy, it produces negligible natural resources, confirming it as the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas and the second-largest importer of oil.

High density living is common in Japan with the population of 126.4 million inhabitants (CIA, 2011), residing in cities and towns established on approximately 18 percent of Japan’s total 364,485 square kilometers of land. Much of the country is covered by mountains, many of which are active volcanoes, including one of its famous landmarks, Mount Fuji. Four distinct seasons are experienced in the north, which has short summers and lengthy winters. In contrast, a subtropical climate is enjoyed on the southern islands, where several climatic differences occur due to the length of the archipelago. Tourist facilities are widely available, although not operating fully in the coastal areas of the northeast, which was devastated by the country’s most powerful earthquake and the accompanying tsunami in 2011, which killed thousands of people. Despite a well-established and high quality health system, visitors and short-term residents in Japan require international medical insurance, as costs of treatment in the country are high, and those without long-term visas are ineligible for public healthcare.

Japan Health Care and Insurance

Japan boasts one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates of 79 years for males and 85 years for females (CIA, 2011), which is largely attributed to its well established healthcare and universal health insurance system. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare governs public healthcare, overseeing a number of Government-run agencies which operate in the sector. One such agency is the Health Service Bureau, responsible for identifying measures for improvement of public health, education, disease-prevention measures and evaluating environmental health. This works in conjunction with the Health Policy Bureau, charged with overseeing medical care provision through local governments in the various prefectures, and also with the Health Insurance Bureau, responsible for the medical insurance system. Public funds, such as tax payments through national and local government, individual co-payments and insurance premiums are the financial resources from which funding of the sector is drawn.

Japan’s health insurance is compulsory for long-term residents, of which two main schemes operate: a national health insurance, administered by local governments and an employee health insurance program. The amount which patients must co-pay for personal medical services depends on age. Typically the majority of individuals, who have an income comparable to the current workforce, pay a maximum of 30 percent of the cost of treatment, with the government scheme covering the remaining 70 percent. Supplementary private health insurance can be purchased for reimbursement of costs not covered under the scheme. Healthcare, from primary through to tertiary care is delivered via regional and national public hospitals, and private hospitals and clinics. Hospitals are required by law to be run as non-profit entities and managed by physicians, and in the case of medical clinics, owned and operated by physicians.

Patients are entitled to select their doctors and access facilities of their choice. However, despite hospitals regularly charging higher fees for those without a referral, large numbers of people visit facilities for relatively minor problems, causing overcrowding and increased wait times for treatment. The characteristics of medical care have changed significantly in Japan with the rapid increase of an ageing population, combined with an improved awareness of healthcare, the advancement of medical technology and a falling birthrate. The need to refocus the provision of healthcare using existing resources has been highlighted however according to the Ministry of Health a shortage of medical personnel has also put pressure on the system. An increase of emergency and out-of-hours care, along with an inequitable distribution of medical specialists has compounded the issue, with full-time doctors now working an average of 63.3 hours a week. Medical facilities throughout the country however are of a high standard, with English-speaking staff available in hospitals and clinics in most major cities.

Foreigners holding long-term visas are eligible for cover under Japan’s health insurance scheme and to receive publicly funded healthcare, although there are no evacuation or repatriation clauses, requiring long-term foreign residents to hold international medical insurance should a medical situation necessitate repatriation. Short-term residents and visitors are ineligible to access publicly funded healthcare and are therefore financially exposed to expensive treatment if a policy has not been arranged prior to entering the country. Concrete proof of one’s ability to pay is required before treatment is administered to a foreigner who does not hold membership to the national health insurance scheme, otherwise payment in full and at the time of treatment is required. Depending on one’s location and medical condition, the cost of hospitalization and/or medical evacuation could potentially range from USD30,000 to USD120,000 or more, highlighting the need for international medical insurance coverage to guarantee payment for treatment, which can then be administered without delay due to lack of proof of ability to pay.

Japan travel   Japan's medical insurance industry is a fast paced ever evolving market however our staff are experts and at your disposal.

Expatriates and Travelers in Japan

Japan Travel Insurance Concerns

Being one of the world’s most seismically active locations, there is an ever-present danger of natural disasters, from minor tremors to severe earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis. Japan endures an estimated 1500 earthquakes every year, mostly tremors; however an earthquake in March 2011 measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale and a subsequent tsunami, caused large scale loss of life and extensive damage along the north east of the country. The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant was also severely damaged and is still the subject of travel advisory warnings, cautioning against travel within 30 kilometers of the plant and any of the deliberate evacuation areas designated by the Japanese authorities. Despite the situation having largely returned to normal for most parts of Japan, reconstruction efforts are ongoing in the north east, particularly in the most directly affected areas, resulting in some continuing disruption to essential services. Travel advisories highlight that the Japanese authorities remain the best source of information and advice on the situation, and recommend that individuals be alert to official announcements pertaining to public safety and to follow any instructions, particularly in the event of earthquakes precisely. Local media in Tokyo have emergency information in English, available via the US Armed Forces station on 76.1FM and 810AM.

Vaccine-preventable diseases such as Hepatitis B and Japanese Encephalitis occur in Japan. Inoculations are therefore recommended to be administered before travel by the US Centre for Disease Control. Prefectures including Tokyo have seen a significant number of measles cases over recent years, therefore routine childhood vaccinations are also recommended for those not previously immunized. The need for comprehensive health insurance has been highlighted for a growing number of visitors and adventure tourists due to snow-related accidents, which have become more common over recent years, accompanying the rising popularity of back country skiing and snowboarding. A number of people have died from avalanches, which commonly occur outside marked ski areas. Ice and snow falls from roofs also present a risk, and have resulted in deaths. Local information sources such as tourism centres and websites, hotels and ski resorts should be consulted for potential dangers related to conditions. Emergency assistance in Japan is available by dialing 110 for Police, and 119 for Fire and Ambulance.

Japan Expat Health Insurance

Medical facilities in Japan provide a high level of care and are relatively accessible throughout the country however treatment can be prohibitively expensive. There is an expectation of payment in full at the time or treatment, or concrete proof that costs can be met. This especially applies to foreigners without long-term visas who are not covered by the national health insurance plan. The national plan does not cover medical evacuation or repatriation, weighing a heavy risk on those without an international health insurance plan. An insurance policy can be arranged through International Medical Insurance, which provides cover whenever and wherever you decide to travel. Globally transferable policies deliver benefits for a range of medical needs, from emergency evacuation and repatriation, doctors’ fees and medication costs, to maternity services and specialist consultations. To guarantee the cost of healthcare in Japan does not become a financial burden, contact an International Medical Insurance consultant to discuss your requirements.